By Villamor Visaya Jr., Philippine News Agency Stringer and Philippine Daily Inquirer Correspondent

CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela — As COVID-19 cases soared anew in Isabela, the schools’ division has suspended classes and other teaching-related activities for 12 days from January 17 to January 28.

Schools division superintendent Dr. Madelyn Macalling, in her memorandum, said “all synchronous and asynchronous classes shall be put on hold while submission of academic requirements and conduct of other teaching-related activities must be moved to a later date.”

Macalling said she consulted the action with the Isabela government officials and higher-ups of the Department of Education (DepEd).

“The academic break is in consideration of teachers’ and learners’ health and well-being,” she said, reiterating that the order in consonance with the DepEd’s curriculum and instruction strand which reiterates policy on “academic ease and allowing the suspension of classes in the midst of the surge of COVID-19 cases.”

Accommodations “must be afforded” for “valid reasons” for late submission of requirements, she added.

Administrative and financial operations of the schools shall observe 60 percent on-site for non-teaching personnel while school heads would prepare alternative work arrangements, the superintendent said.

“Private schools, in consultation with their respective parents’ associations, may exercise their own discretion relative to the suspension of classes and K to 12 learning activities when COVID-19 risks in their respective areas are high,” she added.

“Private schools may follow the order at the discretion of their officials,” she said in an interview Saturday.

Isabela’s cases had ballooned to 1,575 active cases on Friday, January 14, with 389 new cases. The total cumulative cases had reached 62,270, deaths at 2,103 ad recoveries at 58,592.

Areas with high active cases include Santiago City with 442, Cauayan City with 142, this capital city with 95, and Cabagan with 79 cases.#